COUNCILLORS are concerned about restricting access for social distancing and limiting movements to pedestrians, cyclists and buses at Chapel Hill after it was announced the road would be closing indefinitely.

Even though buses, pedestrians, and cyclists will be allowed to access the Chapel Hill tunnel, Cllr James and Cllr Harvey, have dubbed the proposal as "late in the day" for limiting access for social distancing.

In a letter written to Hampshire County Council (HCC) on June 7, the councillors have raised questions about pedestrians' restrictions under the railway bridge and increased commuter traffic in the area.

Basingstoke Gazette: A Covid travel map of Chapel HillA Covid travel map of Chapel Hill

The cllrs wrote: "Pushing commuter traffic from the back of the station onto local roads would be a major problem.

"If the Government are encouraging people to go back to work and more people drive to the station to use the train while the bridges are closed, local traffic management will be a problem.

"We will need enforcement improving as well for vehicles like Chapel Hill's construction traffic that must not use our local roads instead."

They said vehicle movements will need "monitoring" as a result of these changes around Gresley Road, Vivian Road, Houndsmills, the Thornycroft and Aldermaston roundabouts.

Even though HCC have said they will monitor traffic throughout the area to track the impact of this closure, the cllrs are concerned they will not see a true picture of the amount of traffic using the station.

"We are concerned about rat running and the impact on local roads.

"We want to see the Borough, County, Network Rail and the LEP work together towards opening up the third tunnel, that is already punched half way through, and dedicate it to pedestrians and cyclists only.

"We want a long term solution for the bridges that works for cars and buses, as well as pedestrians and cyclists."

HCC have decided to go ahead with Chapel Hill road closure from this week.

Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: “We have worked at pace, and as soon as Government guidance and timescales were available, to support the safe, economic recovery of Hampshire as national Covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease.

"The scheme to close Chapel Hill tunnel to all motor vehicles, except buses, taxis and cycles will help social distancing as cyclists will ride on the road, which will have less traffic on it, thereby freeing up capacity for pedestrians on the footway.

"Access for car traffic to The Rising Sun pub and the cemetery still remains from the northern end of Chapel Hill.  

"On Vyne Road, the rail tunnel will also be closed, enabling cyclists to use the road through the tunnel, separating from pedestrians on the footway. Access to the rail station car park will be retained.

“The transport and travel measures we are putting place are to support the re-opening of town centres and businesses to help enable social distancing measures, giving people the confidence to return, and to enable more people to walk and cycle, reflecting changing travel patterns during the Coronavirus outbreak.

"These plans are being developed with Hampshire’s district and borough councils, Business Improvement Districts, town and parish councils, and other organisations who have expressed an interest.

"It is important to note that the delivery of these temporary measures requires that we work at speed and scale – they will therefore not be subject to the same level of consultation as permanent transport infrastructure. 

"This scheme will be in place towards the end of this week and will be monitored regularly.

"There will also be a QR bar code on site which you can scan using a smartphone to provide your feedback.

"We will review schemes regularly and they will be altered if necessary. Schemes may also be considered for retention where appropriate, based in part on careful feedback from local people and businesses and evidence of effectiveness.”